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Work of the Week – Thomas Larcher: The Living Mountain

A Tyrolean in Amsterdam: It’s the flattest of all European countries which is focussing on mountain climbing this week. The Akso|Schoenberg Ensemble is presenting Thomas Larcher’s The Living Mountain for soprano and ensemble on 30 April 2022. Soloist of the world premiere at the Concertgebouw is Sarah Aristidou, Gregory Charette conducting.

For Thomas Larcher, facing the mountains is borderline experience, reflected in The Living Mountain

It is not the first work which the Austrian composer has dedicated to the mountains. Professional sports climbing was the topic of his most recent symphony, Symphony No. 3 – ‘A Line above the Sky’, premiered in 2021. In Larcher’s life as an active mountaineer as well as a composer, mountains have always played an important role. At one point, he finds a wide open, empty space for his soul to roam around, at other times climbing could be a challenge. Although he has experienced extreme situations and dangers, the thorough and unpretentious look at the mountains found in the works by photographer Awoiska van der Molen and author Nan Shepherd, whose Texts he set to music in The Living Mountain

In Shepherd’s book it is not about mystifying the mountains or ‘testing oneself’. It is about discovering their beauty in one specific sound, in one look. It is about hearing the whole universe of music in one cry of a bird. And it is about hearing, feeling and experiencing yourself. – Thomas Larcher

In the current season, Larcher is composer in residence at the Concertgebouw. The German premiere of The Living Mountain is scheduled for early 2023, as well as the British premiere of his Symphony No. 3.

photo Thomas Larcher: Eduardus Lee · background: matti12seven / Adobe